Cultural Diversity Factsheet

Whitehorse is a diverse community, with over 160 cultures represented.  This page presents statistical information on residents’ country of birth, language spoken at home and religion, based on data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

Overseas Country of Birth

Figure 1 Top Ten Overseas Countries of Birth
Figure 1: Top Ten Overseas Countries of Birth
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  • Almost 4 out of 10 Whitehorse residents were born overseas (38.4 per cent) and around a third come from countries where English is not the first language (33.1 per cent).
  • While the majority of residents (57.2% per cent) were born in Australia, this figure is lower compared to Greater Melbourne (60 per cent) and Victoria (65 per cent).
  • China is the leading country of birth for the overseas born population in Whitehorse, followed by India and the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
  • Residents born in China make up 11.5 per cent of the population, an increase of 68.6 per cent of the population from 2011 levels (7.3 per cent).
  • Between 2011 and 2016 the Indian population in Whitehorse increased by 40 per cent or 1,421 people.  India is the number one country of birth for recent arrivals to Australia (i.e. people who arrived between 2011 and the Census date).
  • The Italian and Greek populations both decreased by 15 per cent.  This is consistent with trends across Australia and can be attributed to deaths and low current migration levels replenishing these groups.
  • The most common overseas countries of birth for residents aged 12-25 were China and India.  The most common overseas countries of birth for residents aged 60 plus were the United Kingdom, followed by China and Greece.
  • More than a quarter of residents (28.2 per cent) living in Box Hill were born in China.


Figure 2 Language spoken at home
Figure 2: Language spoken at home
  • In Whitehorse the most common languages spoken at home other than English are Mandarin and Cantonese (12.9 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively), followed by Greek (2.5 per cent) and Italian (1.4 per cent).
Figure 3 Persons who speak English not well or not at all
Figure 3: Persons who speak English not well or not at all
  • A total of 7.5 per cent of residents indicated in the 2016 Census that they spoke English ‘not well or not at all’.  This is higher than the equivalent for Greater Melbourne and Victoria at 5.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively.
  • Females who speak languages other than English at home are generally less proficient in spoken English than their male counterparts.  The languages for which this pattern is most striking are Vietnamese and Korean.  In 2016, 26 per cent of females who spoke Vietnamese at home spoke English either ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’, compared with 19 per cent for males; and 29 per cent of females speaking Korean spoke English either ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’, compared with 24 per cent of males.


Religion 2016 2011
No Religion 37.1% 27.4%
Catholic 18.6% 22.3%
Anglican 7.7% 10.9%
Buddhism 5.0% 5.0%
Uniting Church 3.6% 5.2%
Greek Orthodox 3.4% 4.1%
Christianity, not fully described 2.9% 2.3%
Hinduism 2.7% 2.0%
Baptist 2.7% 3.0%
Presbyterian and Reformed 1.9% 2.5%

International Students 

Whitehorse is home to a large number of international students, attending Box Hill TAFE and Deakin University as well as other tertiary and secondary institutions.  Box Hill Institute’s Box Hill Campus has approximately 37,000 students and Deakin’s Burwood Campus is the university’s busiest campus with more than 30,000 students.  Roughly 26 per cent of enrolments at Deakin University are international students and the majority of these international students are from India (37 per cent) and China (24 per cent), with growth also in student numbers from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Pakistan (Deakin University, 2019 Annual Report).


Accepting and valuing cultural diversity are important for the health of individuals and the community.  Respect for diversity contributes to good community cohesion, which helps people build social connections.  A total of 60.2 per cent of people in Whitehorse feel that multiculturalism makes life in the area better, higher than the Eastern Metropolitan Region average of 57.1 per cent and the Victorian state average of 51 per cent.

Figure 4 Community Acceptance of Multiculturalism
Figure 4: Community Acceptance of Multiculturalism